image via thingsweheart.com
Last night, I decided to make Southwest Red Pepper Bisque soup from the Vera Bradley cookbook. Yeah…..I made it. But, let me assure you it started out soup: 1 Heather: nothing! This soup really was made with love as it was part of DH’s list of things he wanted to try to cook. I thought it would make for a good surprise. And, surprise it was, for me as well unfortunately!
The night started off as usual, work till 5:30, teach Pure Barre class at 5:30, take a Pure Barre class at 6:35, head home to make dinner for DH before he gets off from his 12 hour work day. Busy season + being an accountant= crappy schedule.
I pull out the recipe, remembering I didn’t think it looked that difficult. Then, you guessed it…..it all went down hill from there. First of all, is it possible to be allergic to the smell of onions? I know they make most people cry, but I ugly cry when I cut onions. We’re talking mascara running down my face, squinty eyes so blurry that I can’t see and my nose starts to itch. My DH and I have a deal worked out where he usually cuts the onions when home–obviously this was not the case. To prove said point about blurry, teary eyes, I began spilling blood from my cut finger…lovely, I know.
Then, I realized the recipe called for a dutch oven. I still have no idea what a dutch oven is, so I used a big pot which DH told me he thought was a dutch oven later on that night. Is this true?!
Next, I had never had to fire roast anything before, nor did I know how to. Well, it turns out as an improvisation I put the oven on broil and went to town after calling my mom for the 2nd time for advice. I noted 8-10 minutes later, my peppers still weren’t roasting.
Then the light bulb went on. ***talking to self: Heather, why are they not getting done? I called momma (what else are you supposed to do?!) of course. As I began talking to her for the ahem, sheepishly notes….4th TIME! I realized that perhaps the rack should be on the top level of the oven for roasting to happen. She assures me this is correct. Without further ado, I move the shelf of the oven with the cookie sheet holding the peppers to the top level spilling red peppers all over the kitchen floor. As said move is made, I burn my hand slightly. No big deal at this point.
Long story short, I needed to have cooked rice ready for the next part of the recipe which I then had to scurry to cook. I just assumed it would cook in the soup. Then realized I had no food processor, but a blender would have to do. I realized the blender was dirty, so as I was washing it, of course I cut another finger on the prong inside of it. Finally coming to a smart decision, maybe my first of the night, I vowed to myself to never make this d*** soup again.
As soon as DH walked in the door, I promptly told him that whether he liked the soup or not he had better pretend that he did at least until the next day. He proceeded to tell me that I had to be the messiest cook ever. Luckily, I can laugh about these things even at this point, lucky for him! This mess he mentioned included aforementioned spilt peppers, onions and tomato sauce on the floor, dishes piled high in the sink, sticky counters, and my wounded finger wrapped in bloody gauze. I failed (read: chose not to)inform DH that I actually had started cleaning up as I had been cooking. Let’s just keep that our little secret.
Believe it or not, DH told me that this soup was legitimately his 2nd favorite thing I have ever made. Don’t worry, I asked again today just to make sure he wasn’t lying to me the night before to protect my sanity. I haven’t told him this yet either, but trust me if we make this soup again, he gets to wear the chef’s hat.
Apparently, the soup comes in 2nd place to our famous meat loaf. I promise you this is not just any meatloaf. I HATE, LOATHE, and DESPISE most meatloaf. But this meatloaf is SO good, we’re pretty much known for it! I’ll try to get that recipe down for you all soon, if you want it, that is.
Do any of you have any kitchen disasters to share? The answers about dutch ovens and onions…the list could go on….
Without further ado though, here is the recipe:
1/3 c. finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 c. reduced-fat sour cream
2 t. milk
1/2 t. salt
2 t. olive oil
2 c. chopped onions
1/2 c. chopped carrots
1 1/2 pounds red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, chopped
1 T. tomato paste
1/2 t. cumin
1/4 t. chili powder
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves
3/4 c. cooked long grain rice
1/2 c. water
2 (10-ounce) cans chicken broth
1/2 c. milk
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
Combine the cilantro, sour cream, milk and salt in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots. Saute until light brown. Stir in the roasted peppers, tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the rice, water, and broth. Bring to a boil. Cover partially and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Process in batches in a food processor until smooth. Return to the Dutch oven. Stir in milk, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until heated through; do not boil. Ladle into soup bowls and top with sour cream mixture.
I wish you better luck with the preparation of this soup than I had!